The Oaks at Ojai (California)
What if I ask you, right this second, to get up and shake all over like a wet dog? Yes, that's what I'm asking you to do (as long as you're not in a place where you might be embarrassed to do so). Why shake it off? Because stress causes muscles to tighten, shoulders to hunch up, and your back to round. But when you shake like Fido or Spot, you release that tension even for a second.
Because we can't walk around all day shaking like a pooch, there are some other ways to shake off stress. Just a word of caution, if you feel like the stress you're managing is managing you, seek some professional help. You might want to delegate to other family members, hire some extra help or learn to say "no." Or speak with your physician or a counselor. Stress pushes us to inhumane limits and contributes to life-threatening ailments.
Here are 20 suggestions to help shake up your life.
1. Walk, everywhere you can.
2. Stand tall; this will encourage you to do #3.
3. Contract your abdominal when you're sitting and walking (this actually is an exercise you can do any time and any where).
4. Learn to love deep breathing. Often we don't take in enough oxygen (yes, it's true) and we're not refueling our body. Spend a few minutes breathing and see if you don't feel more energized.
5. Put a twist on your fitness routine. Let's say you always walk briskly, 4 times a week without fail. Next week, walk in another part of town or around the park. Vary your routine.
6. When walking, swing your arms. Get physical about you're workout.
7. Stop thinking of fitness as a must-do and look at it as relaxation and rejuvenation. Think of it as recess for grown ups.
8. Take pride in your current fitness routine. You're doing something right. Add on ten minutes to your current routine-just for one week and see how much more fit you feel.
9. Stretch. We all know them, yet less than 50 percent of those who exercise regularly stretch. As we age, we become less limber and often feel ancient because of that stiffness.
10. Dress for success. Clothes are important; just ask any teenager that question if you don't believe me. Dress for fitness success in ways that flatter your body, not the body you hope to have when you lose 20 pounds or discover hipbones. Make sure the clothing is comfortable regardless of the size.
11. Check your shoes. Walking, running and tennis shoes are all made for specific sports. Buy the shoes you need for your fit life and remember, if you're active, you may only get three or four month's wear from the shoes. Check the soles often and at the first sign of wear, replace them. Why? Worn soles will negatively affect your posture and this might be the
reason you're having a neck ache or one in your back.
12. Hang out with people who are fit. Join a sport's team or take a fitness class.
13. Ask your spouse, best friend, kids or neighbor if they'd like start on a fitness program with you. There's no reason why you cannot jog or walk briskly as they kids cycle.
14. Read about fitness and subscribe to online or print fitness newsletters and magazines.
15. Expose yourself, to sunshine, that is. Those who work in offices or live in the north often don't get enough natural light. The brain and the body need natural light to brighten moods and help the body assimilate vitamins. Why not sit outdoors for lunch, starting today? (Be sure to wear a hat or use sunscreen if you're sitting in the direct sun.)
16. Double your fitness workout by carrying a backpack with some light weights inside. Make sure you begin slowly and add weight as you become stronger.
17. Take a holiday for your health. There are lots of organized trips for hikers, bicyclists, and environmentalists. Stay at a health resort and restore your fitness goals.
18. Get enough sleep. For most of us that's seven to nine hours each night.
19. Drink at least eight glasses of water or other liquids a day. Thirst is a behavior we can overrule with our minds. Coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks do not count toward your consumption of liquids. New studies show that people who drink more than three diet sodas each day have a far harder time losing weight.
20. Get check ups on a regular schedule. If you suffer from any sports-related injuries or just feel out of sorts, get help before you must slow down.
Shake up your routine and attitudes as you stay fit for life.